Image of Barramal by Daikota Nelson

Background

Hepburn Shire Council is committed to reconciliation, working positively today and into the future with the Dja Dja Wurrung (Traditional Owners) and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community members to learn, acknowledge and move forward together. In continuing with this commitment to reconciliation it is proposed that Jim Crow Creek is renamed. The reason behind the proposed name change is twofold:

  • the recognition of Aboriginal heritage and the reinstatement of Dja Dja Wurrung language into the landscape,
  • and the removal of a name that is offensive and derogatory.

The history of the term ‘Jim Crow’ is rooted in racial segregation and anti-black racism. In 1828 a US white actor Thomas Dartmouth, known as ‘Daddy Rice’, developed the first popular blackface minstrel character called Jim Crow. Rice became a hit on the world stage with his performance of ‘Jump Jim Crow’ a song and dance routine portraying an enslaved, disheveled and grossly stereotyped African American. ‘Jim Crow’ became a racist term to refer to ‘black people’ worldwide and became the foundation for the ‘Jim Crow Laws’ in the United States (1877 to 1965), making discrimination and racial segregation legal and enforceable.

Historical sources indicate that the name Jim Crow was likely first applied to the area of Lalgambook/Mt Franklin by Captain John Hepburn in the 1830’s. The term Jim Crow was used by squatters, government representatives and miners to refer to the mountain, the Aboriginal Protectorate, the ‘Tribe’, individual Aboriginal people, the creek, the goldfields (diggings) and district. There are many precedents for removing racially offensive terms in the Australian landscape. Mount Jim Crow in Queensland was legally restored to the Darumbal (Traditional Owners) name of Baga in 2018.

In Hepburn Shire, reinstating a name that re-connects our community with the Dja Dja Wurrung culture and language that spans many thousands of years, sets the standard for how we can support the Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples to reinstate language in our landscape.

The new name proposed by DJAARA (formerly the Dja Dja Wurrung Clans Aboriginal Corporation) and supported by Djaara Elders, is Larni Barramal Yaluk. The name translates to ‘Home or habitat of the Emu Creek’. Another translation given is ‘the resting place of the Emu’. The crater at Mt Franklin/Lalgambook had this name because the crater resembles the Emu nest. The Country surrounding this was also referred to as Larni Barramal because the springs and swamps there provided water to emu. The Creek would also provide water, therefore, renaming the Creek Larni Barramal after this area was agreed to by the Traditional Owners.

It is important to note that the name Jim Crow Creek will be reserved in the state’s geographic names register as an historic name and will remain a part of the region’s history.

Video

A short film has been prepared for you to further understand why Larni Barramal is significant to the Dja Dja Wurrung Peoples and to hear how to say the proposed name.

How to pronounce "Larni barramal yaluk"

Map

Map of Jim Crow Creek

Council Meeting on 20 April

Council considered a detailed report including the results of community consultation and other relevant policy considerations at its Meeting on 20 April. The meeting was open to the public and also livestreamed on Council's Facebook page.

Councillors unanimously agreed to request Geographic Names Victoria to rename Jim Crow Creek to Larni Barramul Yaluk.

What is the process?

The renaming process is outlined in the Naming rules for places in Victoria – statutory requirement for naming roads, features and localities 2016.

The following naming principles are applicable in the case:

Principle (E) of the Naming rules for places in Victoria – Statutory requirements for naming roads, features and localities – 2016, states that place names must not discriminate. Many people find the name/term Jim Crow to be offensive.

Principle (F) states that the use of Aboriginal languages in the naming of roads, features and localities is encouraged, subject to agreement from the relevant Traditional Owner group(s).

For more information relating to the history of the term ‘Jim Crow’ please see the Document Library on this page.

Why can’t we have a dual name?

The dual naming process is not appropriate in this instance for two reasons. Firstly, the retention of the phrase ‘Jim Crow’ in the name would defeat the purpose of the proposed renaming, that being that the term Jim Crow is offensive. Secondly, Jim Crow Larni Barramal Creek is too long according to the naming rules.

Are we erasing history?

No, the name Jim Crow Creek will be reserved in the state’s geographic names register as a historic name and will remain a part of the region’s history.

What has happened so far?

Council has followed the process outlined in the Naming Rules. These include the requirement for an engagement phase. This phase took place last year from 30 September to 12 November 2021, the community was informed of the proposal and the reasons for it. A survey was undertaken to gauge the level of community support for the proposed renaming.

Under the Naming Rules, residents, businesses and property owners within 200 metres of Jim Crow Creek are deemed to be ‘immediately affected’. This community were sent individual letters as part of the consultation process between 30 September to 12 November, explaining the project and with a copy of a survey by which they could communicate their support or objection to the proposed renaming.

Council recognised that the extended community and other organisations may also have an interest in the proposed renaming project so we also invited the broader community to email their responses to Council or to the Reconciliation Officer during the consultation period of 30 September to 12 November 2021.

The total overall result of the feedback during the consultation period of the period of 30 September to 12 November 2021 was 187 in support (including 41 tacit approval) and 30 objectors.

How did Council make its decision about whether to recommend the renaming?

Upon the conclusion of the public consultation period the responses were collated and analysed and an assessment report was compiled by specialist staff and provided to Council. While there were some strongly expressed views by community members opposing the proposed change of name, the overall response to the survey clearly demonstrated strong community support for the proposed change.

Council then also invited respondents from last year’s consultation to register to speak to their submission at a Special Council Meeting on 22 March 2022 (https://www.facebook.com/hepburncouncil/videos/668...).

Following the Special Council Meeting a detailed report was provided to Council including the results of the consultation, a summary of the presentations made at the Special Council Meeting and relevant policy considerations. The report and recommendation was considered by Council at its meeting on 20 April 2022 and Council resolved to recommend the change of name as proposed.

Is the decision to rename made by Hepburn Shire Council alone?

As Jim Crow Creek also extends a short distance beyond the boundary of Hepburn Shire into Mount Alexander Shire, a parallel process was also being undertaken by Mount Alexander Shire Council which also resolved at its meeting on 19 April 2022 to recommend the renaming of the creek to Larni Barramul Yaluk. Mount Alexander Shire Council will make its own report and provide its recommendation to GNV.

Following the recommendations of both Hepburn Shire Council and Mount Alexander Shire Council, the final decision to accept or reject the proposal will be made by the Registrar at the Office of Geographic Names (OGN). Objections to a naming proposal can be lodged with the Office of Geographic Names. It can take anywhere between 30 to 60 days for a naming proposal to be audited before a final endorsement is made. This 30 day period is to allow time for objectors to lodge an appeal, as provided in section 8 and 11.1 in the Naming Rules for Places in Victoria.

What happens now?

Council will provide its final assessment report and recommendation to Geographic Names Victoria (GNV). All submissions received during the consultation period will be included in Council’s final assessment report, stating the objection or support for the proposal, indicating relevance to the naming rules and Council’s consideration/response to the submission. The assessment report will include minutes of the Special Council Meeting heldon 22 March 2022 and minutes of the Ordinary Council Meeting held on 20 April 2022.

Following the assessment reports and recommendations of both Hepburn Shire Council and Mount Alexander Shire Council, the final decision to accept or reject the proposal will be made by the Registrar at the Office of Geographic Names (OGN). Objections to a naming proposal can be lodged with the Office of Geographic Names. It can take anywhere between 30 to 60 days for a naming proposal to be audited before a final endorsement is made. This 30 day period is to allow time for objectors to lodge an appeal, as provided in section 8 and 11.1 in the Naming Rules for Places in Victoria.

Council resolved at its meeting on 20 April 2022 that it will email or write to all objectors from the engagement phase 30 September – 12 November 2021:

  • informing them of Council’s decision and the reasons
  • outlining Council’s response to the objections
  • informing objectors that they can appeal to Geographic Names Victoria.

The final decision to accept or reject the proposal is made by the Registrar at the Office of Geographic Names (OGN).

If you have any other questions you would like answered please contact us on creekrenaming@hepburn.vic.gov.au.